Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to break the cycle of denying SRHR: Youth & the Post2015 Framework

This Monday, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality organized an informal and very interactive parallel side-event at the CSW, in collaboration with Women’s Global Network on Reproductive Rights (WGNRR). The session was called ‘How to break the cycle on denying young women’s access to youth-friendly SRHR services? Ensuring SRHR in the Post-2015 Development Framework’. The aim of the event was to share lessons learned and identify strategies to include young people’s SRHR in the post-2015 development agenda, so as to eliminate institutional violence against young people.

There was quite some attention for the event before it actually started. A prominent documentary filmmaker filmed the event. The event was attended by a mixed group of people.
The first speaker at the event was Rishita Nandagiri, who is a young woman working as Programme Officer for WGNRR. She addressed how the denial of SRHR services for young people/women is institutionalized violence against women. She also underlined the importance of having the right to have control over your own body and the freedom to make informed decisions. Furthermore, she spoke about her personal experience with the lack of comprehensive sexuality education in India.



The second part of the session was facilitated by ourselves and focused on the processes in the lead up to the post-2015 development framework. Through the use of a sticky wall, the presentation visualized the upcoming review events and the line within this process. The audience got the chance to see what their role could be within the processes through identifying the upcoming conferences, reports and outcome documents.

The third speaker was Samuel Kissi, Executive Committee Member of AfriYAN and Outcomes Group Leader of the Global Youth Forum. This conference took place in Bali in December 2012, attended by over 600 young people from all over the world. He explained the final outcome of the meeting; Bali Declaration. This groundbreaking document, on putting youth rights at the heart of development containing, recommended actions for the ICPD+20 review and the post-2015 development agenda. He also discussed his how young people can advocate for the different issues in this Declaration. In addition, he spoke about his experience as a young person living in Ghana and addressed the issues that young people encounter there.  

After emphasizing the key role that young people play in the post-2015 development framework, it was time for an interactive discussion. A young man from Nigeria spoke about an approach to ensure that young people have access to decision-making processes. A Namibian woman addressed that she was aware that young people were often neglected within decision-making; this needs to change and young people should claim their rights.

To conclude, there is very much a need for young people to get involved in decision-making to influence policies that affect them. However, it should be acknowledged that young people who want to claim their rights, face many barriers. We may not speak fluent English or UN language and we may have to deal with censorship in their country. Tools should thus be provided to young people to overcome these barriers and ensure that more young people get involved in decision-making. What is a better step in realizing that than informing each other about the possibilities?

Jihan Salad, Youth Advocate and Michiel Andeweg, General Board Member
CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality is a youth-led organization that actively promotes young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide and youth participation in this field. Find more info on www.choiceforyouth.org.

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